On August 12th, 2014, a 5.1-magnitude earthquake shook Ecuador’s capital city and surrounding areas. The earthquake caused damage to slopes along the Pan-American Highway and the government has decided to close the highway near the damaged sites for the next six months.
There is only one other highway that provides access to Otavalo in northern Ecuador. All vehicles are being diverted towards the airport highway causing heavy traffic. It is now taking approximately 3-3.5 hours to reach Otavalo from Quito and 2.5-3 hours from the new international airport to Otavalo.
We’re currently recommending early morning departures from Quito for tours to Otavalo and/or an overnight stay in the area, if possible with travel itineraries. Drive times to Otavalo are shorter during non-peak traffic hours, i.e. before 8 am or after 7 pm.